How is Acceleration Iowa different from other training facilities in the area?
Our AI Elite program is built around speed and explosiveness. Its our job to produce results on the field and on the court, not just in the weight room. We test and monitor ground speed and jumping ability on a weekly basis. You improve what you test, and we test frequently.
Our amazing facility gives us the opportunity to open up to top speed on the ground and train max velocity consistently. Video analysis of our sprints on the ground allows us to critique each athletes sprinting mechanics, correcting any mechanical issues they may have.
Unlike traditional strength and conditioning programs, we don't chase numbers in the weight room. The goal of our weightlifting program is to run faster and jump higher, not to squat a heavier load. However, training with this mindset almost always improves numbers in the weight room as well. The only numbers we chase are 10 yard fly times, 40 yard dash times, and vertical jump height!
What are your thoughts on treadmill training?
Lots of spots performance facilities use treadmills to train speed. We have used high-speed treadmills in the past. I have personally used curved treadmills as well. We currently use a shredmill as part of our speed program. I have 12 years of training speed, most of which includes some form of treadmill training. Listen to me when I tell you nothing, I mean NOTHING, is more effective to training speed than sprinting on the ground. Any sports performance coach who tells you otherwise doesn't know how to coach speed.
Why would a facility use a treadmill to train speed? Most of the time facilities don't have the space to train speed. In Iowa, its only nice enough to sprint outside 7-8 months out of the year, so some treadmills can be an effective alternative to get sprint work in during the winter months. Sprinting needs to be trained consistently so sprinting on a treadmill is better than not sprinting at all.
How is the Shredmill different from other treadmills?
The Shredmill is the closest thing I have experienced to training on the actual ground. It is a manually power treadmill with an adjustable grade. It also includes adjustable magnetic resistance on the belt. You wont find another treadmill more effective at training speed with proper mechanics from 0-30 yards. Most field sports rarely require athletes to open up past 30 yards, which is why we love using the Shredmill as part of our program. Additionally, if our athletes do need to open up after 30 yards, our facility has the space to train max velocity on the ground. This is why we use the Shredmill to complement our max velocity work with our speed program.
The curve treadmill is effective at max velocity sprinting only. This is typically distances above 30-40 yards. While a curved treadmill can still be beneficial for field sport athletes, training on the ground or training with a shredmill would be more effective.
We have enough training experience with high speed treadmills to confidently say we won't use them again. If you don't have the space to train max velocity on the ground, a high speed treadmill may help improve your max velocity. We have seen plenty of athletes improve using high speed treadmills. However, the kinematics of running on a high speed treadmill are different than sprinting on the ground. Excessive training on high speed treadmills can also lead to hip/hamstring issues. If it is your only option to sprint, it may be better than nothing. We encourage you to not believe the hype many trainers will try and sell you on. It is what it is, an average way to get sprint work in, which is still probably better than nothing.
What is your philosophy to training speed?
The simple answer to training speed is sprinting. There is not a more effective method to improving speed than sprinting at max velocity.
Since the majority of our athletes rest on Sunday, we train max velocity every Monday when the nervous system is fresh. We test speed every week, and our numbers indicate kids usually run their best when they are fresh on Mondays. Our other weekly max velocity session varies depending on the programming for the week
When it comes to speed, less is more. If we can get 4-5 high quality max effort sprints in during a max velocity session, that is a win in my book. Our goal most days, but especially on max velocity days, is to feel better when we leave the gym than when we entered.
What is the difference between your standard AI program and AI Elite program?
Our standard class is programmed to prepare athletes for the Elite class. Our standard class takes a broader approach to programming to build a strong foundation. Once athletes have displayed competency in a wide variety of movements, as well as the ability to stay focused and work hard, they will have the option to join our Elite class.
Additionally, since our standard class is typically younger athletes, we put a little more emphasis on having fun. We work to provide a different level of intensity with our older athletes in the Elite class.
Can my kid do CrossFit?
We don't recommend our athletes do CrossFit. CrossFit will help you improve your aerobic capacity, and probably help you get stronger, but the excessive volume is not recommended for athletes. Our philosophy for training speed can be used to train other athletic qualities as well: less is more. Fatigue is the enemy to building strength, power, and speed. The majority of our CrossFit workouts will test your ability to perform under moderate to extreme amounts of fatigue, and are not ideal when training for speed and explosiveness.
What shoes do you recommend?
For speed work on our track, track spikes are ideal. We recommend all our track athletes bring them to each sprint session. We also have many non-track athletes purchase <$50 spikes and wear them during our speed work. Outside of track spikes, typical "cross training" shoes work well for the combination of sprinting, cutting, and lifting.
Things to avoid when buying shoes for speed and agility training would be distance running shoes with tons of cushion in the bottom. This is not ideal for sprinting and cutting or lifting.
The other option to avoid is a "Nike free" type shoe that has edges with almost sock like material that are not very supportive when making sharp cuts. A shoe with a firm but low bottom of the shoe (not a huge heel lift or heel cushion) and supportive edges on the inside and outside of the shoe are ideal.